What does being a Teaching Assistant involve?

lisawhelan

The term “Teaching Assistant” or TA, covers a varying range of roles and responsibilities, and what you’ll be doing as a Teaching Assistant depends on your level of experience, TA status, and the school you work at. At the core of the role, Teaching Assistants provide essential support to teachers in EYFS and school settings.

Teaching Assistants can work with individual pupils, groups of children, or the entire class – supporting pupils across a range of abilities, such as pupils who require extra support or have disabilities. Generally Teaching Assistants will receive direction from both the class teacher and the special educational needs and disability co-ordinator (SENDCO).

There are Level 1, Level 2, Level 3 and Higher-level Teaching Assistants, which come with different responsibilities, training and expectations. There are also specialisms within training to become a Teaching Assistant, such as learning SEND provision.

Your responsibilities as a TA

Generally, Teaching Assistants will be expected to fulfil one or all of the following responsibilities:

  • Deliver tailored teaching activities to individual pupils or small groups of pupils
  • Make sure that the pupils you are working with are able to engage in the learning at hand and stay on task
  • Support the social and emotional development of pupils and report any issues when necessary
  • Support the teacher in managing challenging pupil behaviour and promoting positive behaviour
  • Guide and monitor pupil progress
  • Help with the planning of some lessons
  • Carry out administrative duties, such as preparing classroom resources
  • Create displays and prepare classrooms
  • Listen to pupils read, reading to them and telling them stories
  • Look after pupils who have had accidents, need help, or are upset
  • Provide support outside of the classroom such as helping during exams or on school trips
  • Help with extracurricular activities such as after-school clubs and revision sessions

How to become a TA

Being a Teaching Assistant is rewarding, it is also hard work. You’ll get to know students well and be instrumental in their progress, but you’ll also be teaching pupils who exhibit challenging behaviour and you may be required to change your day’s structure or provide cover at a moment’s notice. To be a great Teaching Assistant you’ll have to be creative, patient, and have great communication skills and a positive outlook.

Whilst there are not any nationally-specified requirements or qualifications to become a Teaching Assistant, there are numerous TA qualifications and courses that you can take to make yourself more attractive to a school. Some schools will also require you to take a test to prove you have basic skills in numeracy and literacy.

Our Engage consultants are looking for creative candidates from a variety of other careers to fill our Teaching Assistant vacancies, and they know exactly what our partner schools are looking for. Becoming a Teaching Assistant is a great route to starting your new career in an educational setting, so get in touch and find out what roles we have that suit you.

To find out more about being a Teaching Assistant, you can review the Professional Standards for Teaching Assistants here.

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